Thursday, August 23, 2007

saving public transit

This CTA news is yet another reminder that our state legislature is still failing us. Mayor Daley is stepping up and pushing for a sales tax increase to pay for the level of transit service that our local economy needs. Some of our legislators have pursued this option for a while.

If funding is not in place in the next few weeks, we're looking at these fare increases and these service cuts. BTW, if you weren't following the earlier rounds of this nasty game, the routes at the bottom of the service cut page were on the original list but have been restored in this latest version.

Public transit makes it possible for many Chicago residents to live car-free. Many of those who do not currently have cars cannot afford all the costs of owning and maintaining them. We do not have enough room on many streets for more cars.

Meanwhile, there have been hints about fare increases and service cuts at Pace and Metra starting soon. What most folks don't realize is that Metra has already made some cuts. Rush hour service is unaffected. However, the number of cars that are open on night and weekend cars has been reduced in many cases. A UP-Northwest line run that I often take at night is now running with 1 or 2 cars open, instead of the previous 3. Some evening/late night Rock Island runs are running with one less car now. This means fuel savings (lighting and ventilation systems) and fewer conductors. Trains are more crowded and much noisier.

Next Tuesday 8/28 there will be a rally in support of transit funding and reform at the Thompson Center (100 W. Randolph in downtown Chicago) starting at 11:30 a.m. Whether or not you can get to the rally, please contact your legislators and voice your support for transit funding and reform before we've lost service that may be difficult to restore. Our city and our jobs depend on it.

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